Bill Clinton photo

Exchange With Reporters in Tokyo

July 09, 1993

Aid to Russia

Q. Mr. President, we wanted to ask you about Russian aid. Is there any sense of disappointment that there isn't more cash, less credit, that this isn't helpful enough to Yeltsin? What is your take on it?

The President. No. As a matter of fact, I think, based on where we were 5 or 6 weeks ago, this is a real success. I'm very pleased. I came here with the hope of getting $500 million in a privatization fund to help convert these government-owned industries to private sector industries. And the Europeans have really come forward. I talked to a lot of them in the last week, and it appears to me that we'll have at least $500 million in that fund and an aid package that will probably be somewhere in the neighborhood of $3 billion. So that is very good. It's also very good for America. I mean, there's a lot of business to be done in Russia by Americans to create American jobs, business and energy and natural resources, in environmental technologies, in all kinds of consumer operations. This is a huge new market for American goods and services.

It's also good news because it will end a lot of this money will enable us to continue to denuclearize Russia, that is, to dismantle their nuclear weapons and to help to deal with the aftermath of that. And that is very, very important in terms of making our country and our world more safe and helping us to continue to manage these defense reductions. So I'm very happy about that.

Q. What did President Yeltsin tell you tonight? What was his reaction, do you know?

The President. Well, he's in a good humor tonight, but we just had dinner together. It was a formal dinner, so we didn't have much time to talk business. I'm going to see him tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to visiting with him again. But he is in very good shape now, since the election. The process of political reform is continuing in Russia, and I feel good about it. And also, one thing I really appreciate about President Yeltsin is that he encouraged us to set up an operation in Moscow to make sure that our money was not wasted, which I was very impressed with. And so I've been working for months now to try to get agreement among all these countries about exactly what mechanism we'll have to monitor the expenditure of this money. And we've achieved agreement on that. So I'm very encouraged about that.

Trade Negotiations

Q. Mr. President, do you expect any more breakthroughs at this summit, I mean, in terms of Japanese trade rules and so forth? Or are we just flailing?

The President. No, we're not just flailing. But I don't know. I mean, if that were to happen it would be a good thing, as long as it's a good agreement for America. But I don't want to raise any false hopes. We were able to get this huge breakthrough on the trade in manufactured goods with these other nations, which could lead to a huge number of new jobs for America. The same thing could happen if we could get a breakthrough in our trade relations with Japan. But our job is to negotiate firmly in the interests of the United States, and we're doing that. And we'll just have to see what happens.

Russian Role in Economic Summit

Q. Mr. President, why is the G-7 not disposed to make themselves the G-8 and include Russia?

The President. Well, I think you will see more and more involvement by Russia over the next couple of years. President Yeltsin's coming here; I expect he'll be with us next year. And I don't think that this group is wedded to any particular membership. But I'm not sure it's the right time to discuss a formal expansion. But he's going to have a major role in this meeting tomorrow, and I expect him to be here next year.

Q. Isn't the statement on Bosnia somewhat disappointing?

Japan- U.S.. Relations

Q. Will you have dinner tonight with Mr. Miyazawa? And what do you read into the fact that he wants to see you again for a trade agreement or

The President. I think they are interested in moving our relationships forward. To me, it was encouraging that he invited me to dinner because we've already been together once. And I think it indicates that the Japanese do understand there has to be some change in the relationship between the United States and Japan, in both our interests.

Whether we can agree on exactly what the shape of that should be at this time, I don't know. And I'm doing the best I can to represent the interests of our country. But as I said in my speech yesterday to the university students, I also believe that the position I've taken is in the best interests of Japan. I know it's in the best interests of Japanese consumers, but it's going to help to stabilize this economy, too, if they can open their markets more and not be driven by the desire to maintain these massive trade surpluses. So we'll work at it. But I was gratified that he invited me to dinner, and I'm going to go.

Q. Wasn't there something good to tell you?

Q. Wasn't the statement on Bosnia—

Economic Summit

Q. You had expressed some frustration with the sort of formal, stilted nature of these things, sir. Did you feel you're making any progress towards getting them—

The President. A lot. A lot.

Q. How is that working out?

The President. Well, we finished an hour early today, partly because of the extra informality. The reason we finished an hour early today is because we discussed a lot of what was on the agenda today, yesterday, when we had a more unstructured 3-hour meeting and last night during our dinner. And we agreed this afternoon to make next year's session even more informal so that we could focus on a few big things, cut out a lot of the bureaucracy and all the other stuff that goes with these summits, and really try to get a few big things done in a very informal way. So I feel good about it.

Q. Aren't you disappointed on Bosnia, Mr. President? Isn't it sort of a weak statement on Bosnia?

Japanese Crown Prince and Princess

Q. How did you like the Crown Prince?

Q. No, let me just ask—let me ask—

Press Secretary Myers. He's done.

Q. How did you like her?

The President. A lot. I had dinner with her. I liked her a lot. I liked him a lot.

Q. What did you talk about?

Press Secretary Myers. Okay, thanks, you guys. Everybody out. Come on.

Q. Give us some color.

Midwest Flooding

Q. What did they tell you about the flood—

The President. I think they've crested at the upper level. But there will be rolling floods all the way down the Mississippi. We'll just have to see what happens.

NOTE: The exchange began at 11:30 p.m. in the President's suite at the Okura Hotel.

William J. Clinton, Exchange With Reporters in Tokyo Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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